Thursday, August 11, 2005

Half in the saddle

Vacation. Now that’s something that can throw a girl right off her plan. I was doing ok with the eating and the exercising, and then for a while, I wasn’t. Nothing too terrible, but enough of it that it made a difference in the wrong direction. I was at 205 when we left Halifax and am now at 208. It’s not a perfect set of circumstances, but in my pollyanna way, I have decided things could be much much worse. For instance, I could have gained the three pounds and learned nothing.

Instead, here are some things I learned on my summer vacation:
· Five days without exercise now feels like five months. I love exercise, even just my simple one-hour evening walks. I cannot go five days without at least one of those.
· When I eat poorly, I feel bad. Not emotionally bad, though I feel a bit of that, but full-on physically bad. Tired, unmotivated, bloated, foggy, b-a-d bad. Bad! But when I eat well, I feel great. This is very simple, old dog, so get on learning this one new trick.
· There will always be a lot of borderline-healthy food at the ancestral palace, as well as stuff that is actually good for me. In other news, there are several grocery stores five minutes away by car, and I am a grown adult with a driver’s license, an ABM card and a positively astonishing ability to cook.
· The good news is that in restaurants, nine times out of ten, I will choose the healthiest thing I can find on the menu.
· The single most important thing I learned? I must make myself a priority, even on vacation. Maybe especially on vacation, particularly those spent at the ancestral palace.

This one is huge. My time at home, especially over the last…what…seven years? has mostly been focused around the sick, the dying and the grieving. Ah, good times. Chris got sick about seven years ago, and died five years ago, and then Dad got sick(er) right after that and died in December. And so those visits have been about spending time Chris or Dad, attending memorials for them, hanging out with my family and, well, grieving, basically. It hasn’t been all tears. But some of it has. A lot of it has. And I’m the fixer in my family. The one who talks sense to those who need sense talked to them. The one who mediates, the one who is the voice of reason. It’s ok, I’m good at it. But being the fixer so often means I don’t take the time to fix myself. I don’t make my own needs and desires a priority. I see to everyone else first, and then, if there’s any energy left for myself, I see to myself. Rarely, however, does this involve 90 minutes of exercise, or a nice bowl of quinoa and brown rice.

And of course I don’t resent it, any of it. And if I could change anything (besides, you know, not having so many dead people in my family) I would change it so I could have spent more time with Chris, more time with Dad, more time helping out my mother.

But I’m no good to anyone if I’m not good to myself. If I feel like I can’t keep my eyes open past 8pm. If my mind is too foggy to concentrate on even a board game.

Also, of course, fixing is my role, but not my job. I don’t have to take it on. They won’t fire me. No one’s going to call me selfish if I go for a walk. And they love it when I cook, actually, as do I.

And now it’s back to normal. Made it to yoga yesterday morning, where it felt so, so good to sweat for 90 minutes. Today, my muscles feel pleasantly worked. Last night’s supper involved quinoa and brown rice and chickpeas, and tomatoes and zucchini from Mom’s garden, plus fresh mint from mine. Tonight there will be a big walk, and today there will be lots of incidental exercise. And water, so much water.

The vacation was good. But in some ways, coming home is even better.

(And, of course, there’s the engagement: Still exciting! Thanks for all your congratulations. We’re very pleased. Thinking about a wedding next fall…September or October. Maybe a green dress. Don’t care what Taco wears, so long as he’s clothed. The rest remains to be decided, but so far, so good.)


Anonymous j @ rta said...

Glad you're home, safe and sound, and that your vacation was good for you. And that you're learning to be good to yourself, too.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Steph - what a great entry! Sounds like you have really opened yourself up to receiving the right messages - how very wonderful for you!!! Sounds like a fantastic vacation afterglow.
Welcome back. And big BIG congrats on the pending nuptials!

3:55 PM  

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